Greetings from Århus. I’m staying here with Phanarath until I return to the Great Satan later this week. I’ll be posting about the Counterjihad Summit in due course, once I get home, collect my notes, upload my photos, and have access to an English-based keyboard. While I’m here, though, I can at least spell the names of places that I’ve visited, such as Nørrebro.
This is the first real access I’ve had to a computer since I got here last week. I see that Dymphna has been more than making up for my absence, even posting about Malmö — poaching on my turf!
It has been really inspiring to meet at long last some of the people who comment here, to put faces and voices and personalities to what had previously been merely text on a screen. Besides Phanarath, I have been spending time with Exile, Steen, Henrik (of Viking Observer), Kepiblanc, Aeneas, Gaia, Asger, Fjordman, Zonka, Anders Gravers, and a number of my email contacts. There are others I’m leaving out whose nicknames I’m not sure of (or because I forgot!) — but you know who you are, and I thank you for being there.
I have learned three additional (and very important) words in Danish: “Hvor er toileten?” which means approximately: “I say, could you tell me the way to the sanitary facilities?”
I’ve been enthusiastically trying to learn Danish, because my etymological experience made it obvious to me that Danish is closely related to Old English.
But that’s just the written language. The spoken language, especially in København, has lost about 80% of its consonants, replacing them mostly with glottal stops (which are like soft Viking hiccups) between syllables. The result is that, to the untrained ear, Danish sounds like English spoken by a Glaswegian with a mouth full of cake batter.
I found the following story (unfortunately not available online) about how the Danes first lost all those consonants. It concerns the initial migration of the Vikings from Jutland to Sealand via Fyn and the Store Bælt under the leadership of Torvald the Blind:
The longboats were well out to sea when a terrible storm arose, with lightning and hail and high wind, so that the ships were in danger of being swamped.
In order to keep the people from perishing, Torvald ordered his men to collect all the consonants on board and throw them over the side to lighten the load. The plan was successful, and, despite the awful tempest, Torvald and his crew landed safely on the western shore of Sealand.
It is for this reason that we have lost all our consonants, and even today the folk of Copenhagen are forced to converse without them.
I have been working hard to connect what I read with what I hear, and have thus become an annoyance to every Dane who comes near me, demanding definitions, pronunciations, and generally being an Anglo-Saxon nuisance. Steen can tell you all about it, and probably already has.
I’ll be back to normal blogging sometime later this week, but I’ll just leave you with a quick story. Yesterday in Copenhagen I was sitting with Steen and Phanarath at a sidewalk cafe — it has been very warm and pleasant since I got here — when a Polish friend of Steen’s happened to walk by. The man was quite familiar with Gates of Vienna, and we had a brief conversation about it. Then he asked, “When are you going back to Austria?”
I told him that I was not Austrian, despite the name of our blog, and that he was not the first person who had thought the same thing. Steen then explained the symbolic significance of the name of our blog.
“Oh, I see,” his friend said. “But you are European, aren’t you?”
“No, I’m American.”
He seemed quite surprised, and gave me a big smile. Then we shook hands again and said our farewells, and he continued down the street.